Happy New Year! It’s been a busy couple of weeks since I got back from the holidays so I apologize for not posting something sooner. In this post I want to introduce you to a the new capabilities of the upcoming ZENworks Mobile Management 2.9 release. The key new features are:
- Filr App Configuration
- Application Assignments to Groups/Folders/Users instead of policy suites
- Pre-configuring MDM enabled apps on iOS 7+
Filr Application Configuration
The 1.0.3 version of Filr for Android (currently on the Play Store) and the 1.0.4 version of Filr for iOS (expect to be released as soon as iOS 7.1 releases) both support the ability to configure the application from the Mobile Device Management applications. With ZENworks Mobile Management 2.9 we have added the capability to pre-configure both the Android and iOS application. Let’s look at how you do that:
1) Create a new Managed Application that distributes the appropriate version of later of the Filr application. This is similar to the way you create any other application, for the Android app user a browser to find the URL to the Android app in the Play store and then add the app using properties similar to those shown below:
For iOS apps, it’s even easier, simply add an iOS managed app and browse for the Filr app right in the Add Managed App dialog, as shown below:
2) Next you need to add a Filr configuration. To do this select Organization > Application Management > Novell Filr. This will open the following dialog:
3) On this page you configure all of the capabilities of the Filr client. You can control the Server IP/DNS name, automatically populate the credentials or causing them to be filled with the ZMM user name, allow copy/paste and screen capture, and finally for Android applications you can control the Open With capabilities of the Filr agent and specify the names of the applications you want to be able to open Filr content. For the iOS Filr application, the open with is dictated by the “Allow managed app documents to open in unmanaged apps” setting in the policy. If this is enabled, then Filr will only allow other applications distributed via ZMM to open the documents.
4) After you have configured the settings, click Save.
5) The next step is to configure who you want the Filr configuration to be distributed to. To do this you need to set the Novell Filr field on either the User’s Configuration tab, the System > Organization Defaults, or on the LDAP group or folder properties on the Organization > Administrative Servers > LDAP Servers > Group and Folder Configurations. The Group and Folder configuration page is shown below:
6) The final step is to assign the application to the device either via Policy Suite or Group/Folder assignment. For information on the latter see the next section.
Once this configuration is completed, the Novell Filr application will be automatically pushed down to the device and then the Filr configuration will be used to configure the app so that the first time the user launches the application the configuration is already completed as configured by you.
Prior to ZENworks Mobile Management 2.9 all of the applications you wanted to be made available to a device, had to be assigned via the Policy Suite. As I’m sure you know Policy Suites are singular in nature and the end result was that if you needed three different groups to have three different sets of applications, then you needed three different policy suites. With the new capabilities of 2.9 application can now be assigned directly to LDAP groups or LDAP folders as well as being assigned in the policy suite. Additionally, when assigned to LDAP groups or LDAP folders the assignments are cumulative. This means that you can now assign different apps to the groups or folders the user is part of and the assignments themselves will be merged. This has the potential to reduce to number of Policy Suites you need to maintain. Let’s look at how application assignments work:
1) Start by creating one or more managed applications.
2) Now on the Managed Applications page click the Assign to Groups/Folders button at the top, as shown below:
3) You can now find the group or folder you want to assign the application to and then choose whether to Recommend or Force the application to either Corporate or Individual liable devices in that group.
4) Save the changes and that’s it. New applications are now made available or force installed to the device.
Pre-Configuration of other MDM enabled iOS 7+ Apps
In addition to providing Filr configuration capabilities, ZENworks Mobile Management 2.9 also exposes a generic solution for configuring any application that has been updated to support configuration via the new iOS 7 MDM libraries. In order to distribute applications with configuration do the following:
1) Create the mananaged iOS application.
2) Select the managed iOS application from the list and then click the Manage Configuration File button in the toolbar as shown below:
3) You can now browse for the configuration file that contains the configuration for the application. The format of the file is determined by the vendor and they should provide samples or documentation so that you can create the appropriate configuration file.
4) Click Update Configuration File.
5) Assign the application in either a policy suite or via an LDAP group or folder assignment.
The application configuration will now be pushed when the application is distributed. If you need different configurations for different users simply create additional applications that reference the same application and different configurations, then assign the new applications.
ZENworks Mobile Management 2.9 provides a number of new capabilities that make it easier than every to manage your corporate applications.
In addition to the features discussed here, 2.9 also includes support for Google Cloud Messaging (GCM) so that policies and other configuration changes can be pushed to Android devices instead of having to wait until next sync. For more information about configuring GCM, see the updated 2.9 documentation. I expect that ZMM 2.9 will be released within the next two weeks or so.
By the way, it turns out I now co-own Novell Filr with Richard Lindstedt so in the future expect some Filr posts from me as well as continuing ZENworks posts. For now this is Jason Blackett the ZENguru, signing off.